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Please be a little more specific. Are you looking to stay with a high-output coil? I don't know the capabilities of your particular preamp. Also, elaborate upon your budget for the upgrade. There are more than a few well-versed "analogue addicts" on the site that will give you excellent advice. Those blue points are fairly well know for the "hard" sound you noted. A reasonable upgrade that I have had some experience with is the Benz line (LO.4 in particular but they also make a medium and high output version of the same cartridge - now in "series 2" I believe) Much better in the trebles, more musical and detailed. Good luck! -John
for as little as $175 used or $300 new you can own a Grado Platinum.I bought mine at Sound City delivered for $225.Joe beat A.A. lowest price by $40!The Grado will smooth out that ragged top end and give ya some bass you wont believe.The mids are very transparent too.Its a very good cart.Comes with 4.5mv or a LO version.
medhorn, yer fono-stage has to have lotsa lo-noise gain to use a lo-output m/c. if it does, then i'd recommend a lo-output m/c vs a higher-output coil. many mfr's make the same cartridge w/different output specs, & i've never read about *any* of the hi-output wersions sounding better than their lo-output siblings.
if ewe don't wanna drop a bundle on a cartridge, & can handle a lo-output version, i'd try the ortofon mc25-fl - retails for $450, but always on special at the needle dr. for $225.
re: hi-mass arms, generally, m/c cartridges are heavier - so they need a heavier arm. if ya have a lite cartridge, then a lite arm is ok.
Just to elaborate on the previous post, it's more the structural rigidity of an arm vs. its mass per se that makes for better compatibility with MC carts - due their more 'sensitive' motor assembly and suspensions. MCs put a lot of energy back into the arm, so closer tolerances allow better "handling" (if you will) and less "wiggle" at the stylus/groove interface (as I understand it) I say that if your budget (and preamp) allows it, go fer 'da low output coil! Again, depending on your budget, something like a Koetsu or Allaerts would really *shine* on a rig as nice as yours! -John
For what it is worth, who ever Musikdok is has said exactly what I would advise, in every way. Readers here know I am an analog addict, and my experience with the Dyanvector arm, Dynavector cartridge, the Benz line, Koetsu and (listening, but to owning) experience with the Sumiko, confirms what has already been posted. The only other comment would be that I think that even the new Benz Glider (very reasonably priced!) is a better choice than the Sumiko. Best wishes!
It is the compliance of the cartridge not the weight that dictates the use of a higher or lower mass arm. The objective is to place the low frequency resonance of the assembly above typical record warp and eccentricity of 7 - 8 Hz, therefore about 10 - 12 Hz. Resonance is a function of cartridge compliance and arm mass. This relationship has been charted for audiophile convenience but I can't find mine (several cleanings and moves) so I can't quote example numbers at the moment. General rule is high compliance / lower mass arm, low compliance / higher mass arm. I like the Dynavector high output moving coils - have a 20A and have used 10X4 (both older versions). I see DV now has a newer 20 model in both high and low output versions which may be worthy of your consideration. Both (older) are very detailed but the 20 is less "hard" in your terms. I am not familiar with the DV arm. Good luck with your choices.